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Can you try contacts before you buy them?

Trying on contact lenses before purchasing them is an important step for finding the right brand and fit. With the variety of contact lens options available today, being able to test out contacts first allows you to ensure comfort, vision clarity, and overall satisfaction.

Benefits of Trying Contacts First

There are several key benefits to trying on contacts before buying:

  • Ensures proper fit – Being able to try on contacts allows you to assess how they fit your eyes. Ill-fitting contacts can cause discomfort or movement.
  • Tests vision quality – You can evaluate visual sharpness and acuity with trial contacts. Vision with contacts should be crisp and clear.
  • Assesses comfort – Trying contacts first enables you to gauge comfort level for short- and long-term wear. Uncomfortable contacts can irritate eyes.
  • Compares brands/types – Testing different contact brands and types (daily, disposable, etc.) allows you to compare and find your best option.
  • Saves money – Purchasing contacts that you have not tried could result in wasted money if they end up unsuitable for your eyes and vision needs.

Having the ability to sample contacts provides the chance to make sure you select the optimal contacts for your eyes before investing in a supply. This helps avoid disappointment and having to return unsuitable contacts after purchase.

Ways to Try Before Buying

If you are interested in testing out contact lenses before purchasing, there are a few effective ways to go about it:

Contact Lens Trial through Eye Doctor

One of the best ways to sample contacts is through your eye doctor or optometrist. Here are some tips for trying contacts this way:

  • Schedule a contact lens fitting – Make an appointment for a contact lens evaluation and fitting. This is often a separate appointment from your eye exam.
  • Discuss options – Talk to your eye doctor about brands and types of contacts you may want to try based on your vision needs and lifestyle.
  • Receive trial lenses – Your eye doctor will provide you with trial contact lenses to wear in the office and often take home to test further.
  • Follow-up – Schedule a return visit to discuss the trial experience and determine if the contacts are suitable or if you should try alternatives.
  • Get prescription – Once you and your eye doctor settle on the right contacts, you will receive a prescription to purchase them.

One of the perks of trying sample contacts through your eye doctor is gaining professional guidance. Your optometrist can assess the fit and make sure the trial contacts are optimizing your vision.

Free Trial Offers from Retailers

Many contact lens retailers and online stores offer free trial programs that allow you to sample contacts. Here are some details on trying before buying through retailer free trial offers:

  • Order trial samples – Browse the retailer’s website for information on contact lens trials. You can then place a free order for trial lenses.
  • Provide prescription – To order trial contacts, you will need to provide your valid contact lens prescription information.
  • Receive trial lenses – The retailer will ship you a trial pair or set of the contact lenses you selected to test.
  • Test trial contacts – Spend a few days trying the trial samples to evaluate comfort, fit, and vision clarity.
  • Purchase or decline – If the trial is satisfactory, you can place an order for more. If not, you simply return the trial contacts.

The benefit of a retail free trial is getting to test specific name brand contacts before committing to purchasing a supply. Be sure to follow all wear and care instructions for the trial lenses.

Trial Contacts from Your Eye Doctor

Along with contact lens trials in their office, some eye doctors will provide additional trial contact lenses or sample packs for you to take home and try. Here is how this process often works:

  • Initial in-office trial – You will first try sample contacts at your eye doctor appointment to determine some good options.
  • Take home trial set – Your eye doctor then gives you a trial set with a few different contacts to take home.
  • Test trial samples – At home, try wearing each of the different trial contacts for a full day over several days.
  • Assess and discuss – Make notes about comfort, vision, and fit for each trial pair, then review with your eye doctor.
  • Get prescription – Once the best contact is identified from the trial, your eye doctor can prescribe it for purchase.

This extensive trial method allows you to test contact brands and fits in real-world conditions before making a buying decision.

What to Look for When Trying Contacts

When you evaluate trial contact lenses, be sure to assess these key factors:

  • Comfort – Note any irritation, dryness, or awareness of the lens while wearing. Comfort should improve after initial adjustment period.
  • Fit – Lenses should move minimally with blinks and eye motion. Check for gapping, tightness, or edge standoff.
  • Vision – Vision should be clear and sharp, similar to glasses. Note any blurriness, haze, glare, or distortion.
  • Insertion/removal – Lenses should go in and out of eyes relatively easily. Difficulty could indicate improper fit.
  • End of day comfort – Try contacts for a full day of wear. Discomfort toward the end may indicate dryness or eye fatigue.

Pay close attention to comfort and vision quality when sampling contacts, as improper fit or lens material can distort sight or irritate eyes. Report accurate feedback to your eye doctor.

Purchasing After the Trial Period

Once you have found the right contact lenses through the trial process, you can move forward with purchasing a supply. Here are some tips for purchasing contacts after a successful trial:

  • Get updated prescription – Have your eye doctor provide a prescription for the exact brand and specifications of the trial contacts you want.
  • Decide on quantity – Determine how many lenses you will need for daily wear, replacement frequency, etc. Purchase enough for at least a few months.
  • Choose retailer – Purchase through your eye doctor, online, or at a retail store. Compare prices and shipping fees.
  • Setup delivery schedule – For convenience, you can often enroll in an automatic re-order/delivery program through retailers.
  • Care for properly – Follow all instructions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing your new contacts.

With an up-to-date prescription and successful trial experience, you can confidently order and invest in a new supply of the contact lenses that worked best for your eyes.

Considerations When Trial Not Possible

In some cases, you may not be able to try contact lenses before purchasing, such as:

  • No trial program available
  • Eye doctor does not offer trials
  • In a rush or emergency situation
  • Rare or specialized lens type

If a trial is not feasible, here are some tips for choosing contacts without trying first:

  • Discuss options thoroughly with your eye doctor and take their recommendations.
  • Select major brand name lenses your doctor regularly fits for patients.
  • Start with a lower supply quantity in case an exchange or return is needed.
  • Review return policies and keep receipts if exchanges may be required.
  • Consider disposable lenses for more flexibility if needed changes.

While a trial run is ideal, even without that option, being informed and starting with limited quantities can help make a successful first contact lens purchase.


Trying before buying is highly recommended when selecting contact lenses. Testing potential options through free trials from your eye doctor or retailer allows you to ensure ideal fit, excellent vision, and lasting comfort before committing. With a successful trial experience, you can find and purchase the right contacts for your eyes and lifestyle needs.